Walgreens pharmacy workers are walking off their jobs due to an unmanageable amount of vaccine administrations, low pay and prescription backlogs, according to Today.

Walgreens employees spoke to The Washington Post and explained that usually only one worker is assigned to work 12-hour shifts and is told to fill 300 prescriptions. The employee said accomplishing everything they’ve been asked to do “is not humanly possible along with your day-to-day tasks. As a pharmacist, that is verification, patient calls, vaccines, transfers, calling doctors, doing (medication management).”

The employee added that administration has prioritized vaccine administration since “they give us better gross profit.”

Shane Jerominski, a pharmacy labor advocate who previously worked for Walgreens, told CNN, “Walgreens and CVS have turned into a vaccination clinic first and a pharmacy second.”

He continued, “Because immunizations are so profitable, filling prescriptions is almost an afterthought.”

In addition to over-focusing on vaccine administration, Walgreens workers are walking out for a higher pay. CNN includes that there is not a shortage of pharmacists. In fact, at a veterans affairs hospital in Kansas, 700 people applied for a single pharmacist role.

Michael Hogue, CEO of the American Pharmacists Association, explained that part of the issue is “that pharmacy technician pay is abysmal. In some states pharmacy technicians are making minimum wage, and it’s a very stressful environment.”

Drug shortages in U.S. is currently hitting a 10-year high
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The American Medical Association published an article in August titled, “Reforms needed to alleviate persistent drug shortages,” and said, “The University of Utah Drug Information Service, which has tracked drug shortages since 2001, reports that active drug shortages in 2023 are at their highest level in a decade.”

These shortages have impacted Walgreens and have resulted in bad customer relations. Jeromski told CNN that the American public’s limited understanding of how prescriptions get filled result in angry customers and frustrated employees.

Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman told The Washington Post that the company recognizes “the immense pressures felt across the U.S. in retail pharmacy right now.”

He continued, “We are engaged and listening to the concerns raised by some of our team members. We are committed to ensuring that our entire pharmacy team has the support and resources necessary to continue to provide the best care to our patients while taking care of their own well-being.”

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